Sign In


[Shanghai Famous]: Danny of 2 Wheels

“The bikes I make represent my own style…”
2022-10-02 18:00:00
A SmartShanghai column focusing on people out there in the city making the scene. We asked them to tell us more, more, more about their wonderful selves.

2 Wheels is a the crest of a new trend in classic, vintage-inspired bicycle designs for people in Shanghai who want an easy, tasteful ride around town. Customers can DIY their own bikes and accessories according to their preferences, and even if you don't know much about bikes, they can walk you through the process. Just over 5 years open, SmartShanghai talked to Danny about what the people are riding around the city these days.


SmSh: Can you introduce yourself? Where are you from?

Danny: My name is Danny. I am from Jiangxi. I went to college in Shanghai and majored in Mechanics. I have been living in Shanghai since 2004. After graduation, I worked for a few years, then decided to open my own bike shop in Shanghai.

SmSh: What is your background in bikes? How have you guys evolved over the years?

Danny: At the very beginning, it all started from Fixed Gear designs (a bicycle that has a drivetrain with no freewheel mechanism) . We adopt the style but we wanted to add some diversity to the products and let people make their own to get involved in the process. A few years later, we figured out that the series wasn't all that popular — Fixed Gear bikes weren't what people were used to. About 7 years ago, we started making the business more diverse. I created my own brand and designed the bicycles. Now the "City" series is the most popular, but we still do customized jobs. We also have styles that are more casual and some are sporty...

At the start. we mainly catered to bike enthusiasts. But these days, we specialize in more casual rides. Starting from this March, it has just opened up the online business for people from outside of Shanghai and even China are able to purchase customized bikes from the online shop...

SmSh: So how does it work for people who want to customize their bike? Can you highlight three styles that are particularly popular, and tell us about them?

Danny: Now we have 4 main types: Classic Men, Classic Women, Mini Velo, and Sporty. When a customer comes to our shop and is interested in buying, the first thing we do is acquire information about their riding habits and the main function the bike is for. Then we discuss the gears and the general type. After that comes the "customized" part — making plans according to the customer's height, weight, and color preferences. It's a communication process.

Our "Mini Velo" is currently the most popular one. We just developed it last year. Compared with the bikes that are commonly seen on the roads, I mean those 26' and 28' inches bikes, Mini Velo's light-weight makes it stand out. The bike only weighs a bit more than 9 kg — normally city bikes weigh between 11-15 kg. Even folding bikes are over 13 kg. It also has a smaller volume and shorter wheelbase. It's lighter than bigger bikes and offers a better riding experience than folding bikes in terms of the speed and stability. These features have become trendy these days. For short girls whose height kind of limits their choices towards bikes — most bikes are either too big or uncomfortable for them to ride. Mini Velo would be a great option for them.

Another one is the "Classic". This style offers three customized models: classic commuter bike, multi-speed sporty bike, and traveling bike. The special designs that are installed on the bikes enable the bikes to shift between single speed and multi-speed. Mudguard and basket are also available options. So the "Classic" is basically a multi-purposed bike.

These two are our best sellers...

SmSh: How much are they?

Danny: It depends on the order but we try to keep our bikes affordable — between 2,000 - 5,000rmb. The prices are pretty competitive in the market.

SmSh: Donghu Lu seems right at the heart of things downtown. How do you like the street and the neighborhood?

Danny: It's a pretty nice hub. There're many tree-lined small roads in Shanghai —very suitable for cycling. The trees even make people feel cooler to cycle in the summer. We have a good customer base too. The locals tend to hold higher expectations on details and quality, plus the fact that there are more foreigners living here. I think the style of our brand and bikes are a good match for the city.

I love it here myself. I am very into "Classics", the bikes I make also represent my own style...

SmSh: How are you dealing with the pandemic stuff? And what's your outlook like these days? Are you optimistic for the future?

Danny: Our shop was closed for two months. We adopted several methods to self-help — made our online shop during the lockdown, we had the plan to open an online shop but it was never an urgent plan, the lockdown gave us the time and opportunities to get it done and started getting orders from people who live outside of Shanghai. Also, we created a new production line in another city, our un-customized bikes were produced in the new production line.

Sure, I'm still optimistic about the future — it won't be worse than what we've been through.

SmSh: What's your favorite thing about living in Shanghai?

Danny: The atmosphere here in Shanghai and the fact that people pursue healthy active lifestyles. It makes me want to stay. People appreciate my work. And also I know there would be more people here who share the same interests with me. Personally, I've been living here for quite a long time. It's been almost 20 years since the first time I moved here...